Pinwheel clock

Discussion in 'Clock Construction' started by ernienoa, Dec 6, 2018.

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  1. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    Hi Alan,

    I have been using your plans for the Pinwheel clock and have progressed to this point in the video. I hope you are not offended by what I did. I really wanted to make the skeleton clock as you have designed it, but due to my inexperience in all things clock related and the cost of brass, I went with clear plastic plates. The rest follows your plans fairly close except for the pinions. I went with lanterns to avoid cutting the steel pinions. The brass I was lucky to have on hand from the early 2000s. I have since redone the pendulum suspension spring and the crutch connections to a cleaner look with better/tighter connections. All parts have been cleaned and re-cleaned and pivots have been polished. It is very free running when the pallets are not engaged.

    It does run and seeing it with clear sides is a real benefit. I had it running for about an hour when it stopped. Since then it will run for a while but only a few minutes. The setting of the pallets is very sensitive. I have been careful to make sure the settings are correct.

    Any advice would be welcomed.

    Video at

    Ernie Noa
     
  2. Raynerd

    Raynerd Registered User

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    Great looking clock Ernie!

    I very much like your plastic Perspex Frames. I have had in mind doing similar for some 8 years, but instead using water jet cut glass. Only because I haven’t seen a glass Framed Clock. It is a probably a silly idea but I would certainly build it with Perspex first! Great inspiration.
    Great post.
    Chris
     
  3. Hessel Oosten

    Hessel Oosten Registered User

    Apr 26, 2017
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    Really spectacular !+!

    Hessel
     
  4. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Ernie,
    I like it!!!! Being able to see into the clock from all directions is very cool!

    I have a thought on why it may be stopping. there seems to be some flexing going on with the suspension spring / pendulum / crutch assembly. Perhaps power is being lost by pushing the suspension spring to the side instead of driving the pendulum. It also looks like the crutch fork is connected very close to the suspension spring. Try moving the crutch fork down so it contacts the pendulum rod at a lower point. That will put more of the drive force into the bob instead of the suspension spring. You might also try a shorter suspension spring as a temporary test.
    Looks like you are almost there so keep us posted on what you find out.
    Great work,
    Allan
     
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  5. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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  6. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for taking a look at this clock problem. I have added some length to the crutch. The photos show the position. There seems to be some bounce on one side of the swing. It still does the same thing, but I think it is much better. One it has stopped, I moved the pendulum just enough to move the pallets to a “between the pin” position. The train of wheels did not move. So I think I have a small bind some were in the train. Adding more power by winding another click seems to make the problem worse. I think I’ll be taking it apart to do more polishing of the pivots.

    Here is a slow-motion video of it.

    Ernie Noa
     
  7. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    Sorry here is the video
     
  8. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    That looks great Ernie. I've always liked clocks with clear plates; Riefler used them a lot, at least for demonstration purposes. I can't tell if the pins are landing on the impulse faces, or maybe just on the break from the dead face to the impulse face, but there seems to be something giving the pendulum spring quite a kick, as Allan and Jim have pointed out. It looks like the suspension spring is quite loose in the top if the pendulum rod, too. It should be clamped tightly top and bottom. You might try a thicker spring, too.

    Best of luck
    Johnny
     
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  9. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    Thanks, Johnny, I'll give that a try tomorrow.
     
  10. tok-tokkie

    tok-tokkie Registered User

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    I also think a thicker suspension spring is needed. It seems that the top of the pendulum is moving straight across from side to side as soon as the escape unlocks. Then the bob swings across causing the spring to flex.
    As stated both ends of the spring must be tightly clamped.
     
  11. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    It appears to me that much of the twitching about of the pendulum happens when the pin collides with the impulse face of one of the pallets instead of locking properly on the locking surface. The resultant action causes the escapement to retard the pendulum motion and that itself causes the unusual movement of the suspension parts. I agree that there should be no "looseness" in the various parts but I do not think the real solution is going to be found in the suspension spring thickness, or in the length of the crutch and like adjustments. I also not the angle of the impulse faces are greater than most pin wheels I have seen, I do not have the drawings for this particular clock so I don't know if that is the design or something that crept in later. Just noting something a bit different. While the video is not well focused I have viewed it on a very large screen and frequently the pins are colliding with the impulse faces, for certain. Now why it is losing power thru the train remains a question as at least part of the problem seems to be a lack of power/crisp movement of the escape wheel itself, leading to the collisions and the twitching of the suspension components etc...
     
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  12. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    I want to thank everyone for making suggestions for this project. Somewhere in this thread, I think I have said there is a friction problem. Here is a video of the better suspension attachment. I think it sounds nice, but it still does not run very long. Next is a disassembly for another cleaning and close inspection of the pivots.



    Ernie
     
  13. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Ernie,
    It is hard to tell with the camera moving, but it appears that the twitching (using Jim's technical terminology ;)) has been reduced but it still looks like the front pallet is catching the pin very close to the edge and perhaps landing on the impulse face at times. If a pin is landing on an impulse face, it will act like a brake to reduce pendulum amplitude and send a shock through the escapement and suspension system. Is it possible to close the gap on the pallets? Just a few thousandths will make a difference. Once the pins are consistently landing on the locking surface of the pallet you should see a significant increase in pendulum amplitude with less power from the train.

    Jim,
    dimensions of the escapement and pallet angles can be found here.
     
  14. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    You like those technical terms, huh? I need only a very modest royalty fee for each use! And thanks for the link to the details of the escapement, and the rest of your movement. Nicely done!
     
  15. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    I have tried all the suggestion in this thread without much luck. For now, I am putting this project aside and will return when there is some inspiration. At least it looks great and my wife loves the look. It may be as many have said that the escapement and pallet dimension is not correct. This area is fully adjustable, and I think I have made the changes suggested. Thanks all for looking at this project.
     
  16. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    One thing I think....once you are sure you have the escapement adjusted right, you might think about brass bushings pressed lightly into the plexi/perspex frame at each pivot. I'm just not sure about relative friction of steel on plexi as opposed to steel on brass, and/or the lube making it a little gummy or sticky. Your intuition re: friction (post 6) might well be right.
    Good luck
    Johnny
     
  17. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    They are all bushed with brass and bronze on the two lower wheels.
     
  18. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    Is there any play in that pendulum crutch, or is it tight? Ideally the pendulum suspension spring flexion point should be very nearly co-axial with the pallet center of rotation. If not, the crutch must slide up and down as it swings, creating a fair amount of friction loss. This can be helped somewhat by making the inner surfaces of the crutch slightly rounded, have a tiny bit of play, and polished or burnished.

    Johnny
     
  19. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    There is about 0.002 to 0.003 of clearance in the crutch. It is slightly rounded to compensate for the swing. Thanks for keeping this going.
     
  20. Phil Burman

    Phil Burman Registered User

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    Your pallet impulse faces look like maybe 40 degrees. An acute impulse angle requires the clock to maintain a larger magnitude for the pendulum swing, which in turn causes the escapement pins to fall on the impulse face rather than the stop face. Allans' Pinwheel clock design calls for 45 degrees. To get my rendition of Allan's' design to run reliably I ended up with 60 degrees impulse angles.

    Phil
     
  21. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    This looks interesting. I'll have a go at making new pallets. Which wat do I measure the 60 degrees?
     
  22. Phil Burman

    Phil Burman Registered User

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    upload_2018-12-13_9-17-4.png

    No need to make new pallets just modify the ones you have already made. As long as the angular location of the pallets on the pallet arbor are independently adjustable you should have no problem, try increasing the 45 degree angle in five degree increments. From memory, when the installed pallets are viewed from the side the impulse faces should overlap by approximately 1/3rd of the total horizontal width of the impulse face, so check this first before modification.

    But before you do any of the above have you fully checked for binding in the gear train teeth and pivots. Decompress the main spring and remove the click, also remove the pallets complete with arbor, then spin the train so see how freely it runs. The escape wheel should run freely almost to a stop before it abruptly stops.

    Also you can check each pinion/wheel pair for binding by holding the pinion/arbor with one hand and gently rocking the associated wheel with the other hand, there should be a little bit of free play/backlash. You should do this at a number of points around each wheel circumference.

    Another possibility for binding is with such flexible end plates they maybe slightly distorted by the force from the main spring and/or from the clamping forces applied by pillars.

    Phil
     
  23. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    I am running low on time to work on it this week due to holidays and other family commitments. I do want to renew the bushings, as this was one area I did not change. They were adjusted with small taper reamers when it was first put together. They are 1/4 inch long, but they were machined to have the pivots run in 3/16 inch of material. They were made in a collet. I may try making them to 1/8 running material reduce some of the friction that would be inherent. I also thought there could be some distortion when fully wind up. I have kept the number of turns to just a few clicks.
     
  24. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    I think I have found the problem with the Pin Wheel clock. It was just dirty and some pivots need re-polishing. It still will stop, but only after a few hours. It still needs work but I think the next step is to make new bushings. I tried polishing the inside of the bushing with red rouge, but I am not sure that really did anything. With a redo of the bushings, I can just use the tapered brooch to open them up for a running fit. Is there any other advice on making bushings that are smooth for an almost friction-free running fit?

    It will keep running if there is a lot of traffic in the room as the shaking of the table it is on is just enough to keep it running.
     
  25. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #25 Jim DuBois, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    It is not clear how long the bushings are in your plates. While the fusee wheel bushings should be perhaps the thickness of the plates, the bushings further up the train should be somewhat shorter than the full plate thickness. If I recall engineering 101, and we did it on a slide rule back then, doubling the length of a bearing consumes 4x the power to overcome the friction or keep the pivot rotating in the bearing. Same with pivot diameters. Their diameters should be as small as possible for the load it is required to support. Most clocks have pivots several times their optimum diameters, of course we have a bit more to think about over optimum diameters, like how easy it is to break small diameters, how hard is it to polish / burnish them as needed, but smaller/thinner up to a point is desirable. I suspect Allan has considered these things in his instructions of the original project, but still worthy of discussion are they not?
     
  26. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    The bushings are 1/4 long, but the running length is only 1/8 on the upper wheels. Only the great wheel and the spring drum are 1/4 inch. I suspect I am losing power somewhere in the top wheels. Any suggestions on the type of broach for the top wheels? Or a better material than brass?
     
  27. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    #27 John MacArthur, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    I hate to open this up again, but you might get a set of gauge pins, grind/polish them triangular on the tip (a la Jerry Kieffer's posts), and carefully ream the holes so that they have parallel sides of the correct diameter and perfectly perpendicular to the plate, supporting the pivot over its whole length. This has been controversial, to say the least, and I've successfully kept out of it until now, but I'm firmly in Jerry's camp on this.
    Johnny
     
  28. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    So far the extra cleaning has done the most to keep it going. It ran for 6 hours before it came to a stop. walking in the room this morning got it going again.
     
  29. rgmt79

    rgmt79 Registered User
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    Johnny, can you give us a link to Jerry's posts please. I know he covered his idea of using pin gauges for reaming pivot holes in his video class entitled Bushing on a Milling Machine and would like to see if he expands on that in his posts.

    Richard
     
  30. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    I was afraid somebody was going to ask me that. I've looked through the last 20 pages of posts on clock repair - I'd suggest looking from there back for threads about bushing.
    Johnny
     
  31. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    It's in: query on smoothing broaches...
    Jerry actually only grinds one face on his gauge pins; I have been grinding and polishing 3 for a triangular reamer. post 16 in the thread shows a picture of Jerry's reamer in use, and then posts 23 and 38 explain some about it.

    Johnny
     
  32. rgmt79

    rgmt79 Registered User
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    Thanks Jonny, that is some thread:eek:

    Richard
     
  33. ernienoa

    ernienoa Registered User

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    I solved the pinwheel problem. I originally made the arbors of tool steel and turned the pivots. No matter how good I polished them they never looked good. They always had some machine marks. So I cut them off and drilled them out and press in some hard wire spring steel. I did this on wheel 3 and 4. These could be polished to a mirror finish and they had very square corners with the arbors. The next thing I did was wind the clock all the way. I never wanted to wind it up too far for fear of something going wrong. So now it runs and runs very good. Still to do is to make adjustments to the pendulum and set the correct length for an accurate time.

    Thanks all for those that made a suggestion.

    Ernie

    IMG_9821.JPG
     
  34. Phil Burman

    Phil Burman Registered User

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    That's confusing as your video in post #1 seems to show the clock as being fully wound at 1:24. Obviously if the clock is not wound and you have not set the correct spring tension with the barrel ratchet then there is every chance the clock will not run for more than a few minutes under those conditions.

    Phil
     
  35. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Ernie,
    So it was friction or low power all along as you thought. Glad you got it sorted out. Keep us posted on any new developments.
    Allan
     

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